Blue Rodeo doesn’t recommend taking acid at the Commodore in Vancouver



By Steve Newton

There’s nothing like timing it just right, so that when you walk into a concert venue the band’s just going on stage. But sometimes that I-don’t-feel-like-waitin’ approach backfires, and you end up missing a few tunes by the group you’re all geared up to see. It’s doubly troubling when you miss a few tunes by Canada’s best all-around band, Blue Rodeo.

Last Friday (October 2) I got to the Commodore 15 minutes into the Toronto band’s set, sad to hear from a fellow fan that the group had already performed “Rose Coloured Glasses” but happy to hear a meaty blues workout that showed new keyboardist James Gray to be an ivory-stomping wildman, like former keyboard whiz Bobby Wiseman. I’d seen the band perform without a keyboardist at the Hedley Blast a few months back, and it pulled that trick off quite admirably, but it was nice to hear an original part of Blue Rodeo’s sound reincorporated.

“The first time I ever did acid was in the Rockies,” announced singer/guitarist Greg Keelor while introducing “Western Skies”, a straightforward country-rocker that showcased the formidable chops of another new guy, pedal-steel guitarist Kim Deschamps. “I wouldn’t recommend you take acid,” added the ever-responsible Keelor after the song, “but it worked for me.” Then he coaxed some acid-rock feedback from his amplifiers and the band ripped into “Restless”, a track from its latest release, Lost Together, and its raunchiest to date.

Other highlights of the show—the third of three sold-out nights—included Jim Cuddy’s heart-tugging vocal on the sweet ballad “Try” (which had the lovers in the crowd streaming to the dance floor) and the Doorsy “Diamond Mine”, which made full glittery use of that old ’70s-rock standby, the mirror ball. After a superb hour-and-a-half set, the band encored with a rocking Sylvia Tyson tune, to which my tapping foot gave the immediate toes-up.

I’m normally a cheapskate when it comes to overpriced concert paraphernalia, but I was so impressed by this gig I plunked down $20 for a flimsy Blue Rodeo baseball cap—a step up from the $6 I dropped on a Blue Rodeo keychain the last time the band played the Commodore.

Maybe next time Rodeo’ll have tour jackets, so I can show even more appreciation and also have a home for that trusty chunk o’ metal.

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